Yankees reach deal to move High-A affiliate from Tampa to Ocala


Via Susan Latham Carr: The Yankees have reached an agreement to relocate their High-A Florida State League affiliate out of Tampa and up the road a hundred miles or so to Ocala. We first heard the team was in talks with the city of Ocala last December, after plans with Orlando fell through. “I think it makes a lot of sense. It’s a good quality-of-life-type venue,” said Ocala mayor Kent Guinn.

The agreement is in place but the deal is not yet final. Staff will present the agreement to the Ocala City Council tomorrow, where they will also discuss plans for a new $45 million facility. The new building will be used for more than just baseball and will be paid for by a half-cent sales tax increase over the next ten years. The tax hike and several other things must be voted on before the deal is finalized. Preliminary polls show the public is in favor of the deal. If everything goes smoothly, the relocation could be complete in time for Opening Day 2016.

Josh Leventhal says the relocation of the High-A squad will not change anything regarding Spring Training. The Yankees still have 12 years remaining on a 30-year contract that locks them into Steinbrenner Field in Tampa for Spring Training. The Yankees are looking to move their High-A affiliate out of Tampa to improve the market. They currently have to compete with the Rays, the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, and various collegiate sports. High-A Tampa averaged 1,827 fans per game this past season, fourth highest in the historically attendance-starved FSL.

Categories : Asides, Minors


  1. ropeadope says:

    The new building will be used for more than just baseball and will be paid for by a half-cent sales tax increase over the next ten years.

    I believe the current sales tax is 6.00%, so the 1/2 cent increase wouldn’t be prohibitive, but I’d be surprised if it’s ever lifted once enacted.

  2. Robinson Tilapia says:

    I once ate at a Perkins in Ocala.

    The only other thing of note about Ocala is that, at least back when I was in college, if you drove up I-75 to get to Gainesville, there were tons of adds for the “Café Risqué” in Ocala. I believe the dancers were bottomless.

    If the prospects stall in A ball, you’ll know why.

  3. I grew up in Ocala and became a Yankees fan because of Steinbrenner’s connection to the area and his generosity. When I played for the “Tri-Am RV Yankees” in little league back in Ocala, Steinbrenner sent each of us kids on the team a Yankees bat. That bat is still in my hands for every Yankees playoff game.

    This is great for the City of Ocala, and I couldn’t be more excited to have my hometown as the home for the Yankees A-ball club. I hope to see a lot more Yankees fans when I head home (when I was a kid, they were all Braves fans).

    As for the “world famous” Cafe Risque, fortunately/unfortunately it’s in Micanopy, closer to Gainesville than Ocala. And most trips there leave you much like a Red Sox victory: depressed and a bit nauseated.

  4. Pat D says:

    I can’t wait for the inevitable “Pick the new nickname” contest.

    Hopefully they come up with something better than “RailRiders.”

  5. leftylarry says:

    Horse country there in Ocala.

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